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Difference Between Niacin and Niaspan

Niacin vs Niaspan

People who can’t discipline themselves are bound for the worst consequences. Those who cannot abstain from having a high-fat diet are always at risk for cardiovascular diseases. These heart diseases, such as hypertension, coronary artery disease such as atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, and a lot more may contribute to having a greater risk for stroke and heart attack thus either bringing you to an instant death or leaving you in a debilitating condition.

Because of the great achievements of the pharmaceuticals industry, people have invented drugs to counteract these diseases or lower certain blood components such as triglycerides and cholesterol. By consuming these drugs, expect your cholesterol or triglycerides to decrease. But, of course, there are unwanted side effects.

Two of the lipid lowering drugs are niacin and Niaspan. What can be the differences between these two drugs?

There are no big differences between the two drugs. Niacin is the generic drug while Niaspan is a brand name.

To start off, niacin is a drug that contains a compound called nicotinic acid. Nicotinic acid acts on cholesterol levels by lowering them. Niaspan also contains niacin, but Niaspan advertises it as an extended release, meaning, the drug can be prolonged in the bloodstream. The advantage of extended release in drugs and pills is that it keeps the people from consuming drugs frequently. But with extended release, people will refrain from consuming drugs frequently due to fast-released drugs and pills.

Niaspan is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories while niacin is manufactured by different pharmaceutical companies since it is a generic drug.

Since Niaspan is an extended release medication, niacin, on the other hand, is fast released. Therefore, niacin-flushing is inevitable. In niacin-flushing, there is facial flushing. Since this is a disadvantage, Niaspan was developed. Some people cannot tolerate niacin flushing. They are also consuming it frequently per day because it is a fast released drug. There is also a slow released niacin for the consumers to choose.

With the three types of niacin (namely, fast release niacin, extended release niacin which is branded as Niaspan, and slow release Niacin), the best one according to critiques in increasing good cholesterol and decreasing levels of triglycerides is the fast release niacin. Niaspan is the second best in this kind of functionality.


1. Niacin is a generic drug while Niaspan is a brand name drug.
2. Niacin can come in fast release or slow release while Niaspan has an extended release technology.
3. Niacin has a disadvantage with facial flushing due to the fast-release formula, but Niaspan does not
have that effect.

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